HAMAMATSU, SHIZUOKA PREF. – The Brave Blossoms’ superstar fullback Ayumu Goromaru told media on Thursday that he expects to show the world that his Rugby World Cup performance was not a fluke, as he heads to Australia on a one-year contract to play for the Queensland Reds in the 2016 Super Rugby tournament.
Named in the just-concluded Rugby World Cup’s “Dream Team,” Goromaru joins a Reds squad that finished 13th overall on the Super Rugby table and fourth in the Australian conference, not managing to advance to the finals series.
“I’ll do my best to show everyone in Japan that I can compete on the world stage,” Goromaru told a press conference.
“The World Cup has given me confidence to play on the world level. I will be starting from zero and want to enjoy each and every challenge. I’ve got nothing to lose and I want to give it my best shot.
“I will be in an environment where I can play high-level rugby. The last four years of training have been the hardest in the world.”
Goromaru, 29, will head to Australia at the conclusion of the 2016 Top League season in Japan in February, departing after playing his entire career in his homeland.
“What I am thinking about most right now is delivering my best performance in the Top League and generating some excitement in the domestic league. Next, it will be language learning. No matter how good a player you are, if you don’t pick up English it is going to be difficult to get games.”
Goromaru’s signing by the Reds is a blow to the new Tokyo-based Sunwolves Super Rugby franchise that is in the process of building a squad for the 2016 season.
“I have played well for Japan and have had so little time with my family. My family can come with me (to Australia) and it will be a good experience for my children,” he said.
The Reds welcome Goromaru in hopes of bolstering their back-three and goal-kicking — something that the Waseda University alum showed he excelled at in England.
“I think my goal-kicking (is what caught their eye at the World Cup). Personally I had not given it that much thought so it is very pleasing,” Goromaru said.